Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It Has Been Awhile

It has been too long since I wrote a blog entry. Wow. Life has just been so busy and so hard.

I have been so incredibly sick this year. My autoimmune disease has caused me to have chronic pain, and has caused me to have a multitude of medical problems. Just the treatments for my disease have caused serious illness. I have been to more doctors/specialists than I care to count. I am sick of being sick. My medical bills have been staggering. It has been hard to keep up with life.

What bothers me the most is that people just don't understand why you cannot do what you did before. They get tired of hearing my medical drama. Sorry folks, I cannot help it. I am just trying to hang on, to tough it out, and to do as much as I can for myself and for my family. If it bothers you that I cannot be there for you as much as I once was, well then, I am sorry. I am doing my best. It is all I can do some days to climb the stairs to get to bed. I am exhausted. I do not have time to go out much, to be on the phone much, or to keep up with what my friends are doing. I am just trying to get through my days. Keeping up with errands and the lives of my sons is hard enough. More is just too much. I do not have the money right now to send gifts to friends. They don't like that? Well, again...sorry. I have been more than generous with you in the past. The fact that I cannot do it now is no reflection on the depth of my friendship.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Great Day

Today was a wonderful day. I woke up early, and after son John went to work, son Dan and I had breakfast at the Towson Diner. That is something we never get to do, because Dan is not an early riser. The reason he had no trouble getting up today was the fact that we were going to the Sugarloaf Craft Festival together. We have done that together every year, twice a year, since he was just a little guy. We both enjoy just taking in the gorgeous art. We are always amazed by what we see, by the fact that human hands can create such beauty.

After 2 and a half hours there, I came home to a humongous package from Jana, Puggerhugger on Ravelry. She sent me the most amazing goodies. I love it all. I cannot believe that she did all of that for me. I am so blessed by her friendship.


You know, it is funny. I love to give gifts. I always have. I guess, according to Gary Chapman's amazing book, The 5 Love Languages, I show love by giving gifts to those around me. I am not usually the one who receives gifts. So,when several of my friends gave me birthday gifts this year, I was just floored. Their friendship is gift enough. The fact that they went above and beyond that has moved me to tears, especially when I imagine the sacrifices that several of them made to give me things. I hope they all know that even though I give gifts, I expect nothing in return. I love them just because they are precious to me.

Then,I did some shopping for my swap partner, _____. That was great fun for me. I got some amazing bargains, and I am having a good time putting this box together. (Sock Monkey still needs another leg, 2 arms, and a tail...)

The day continued to be wonderful when I got to talk to some friends and had a nice dinner at home with John,Dan,and John. I'll knit awhile and then head into bed.

I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Candle Loses Nothing

One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou. It says, "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle." To me that is the essence of teaching.

I am lucky enough to be teaching knitting classes at a local yarn store. I absolutely love it. This is teaching at its best for me.

(I have been out of the classroom for 20 years now. I loved the kids, and the "lightbulb going off" moments, but the paperwork and bad attitudes on the part of many left me cold. It all got in the way. I miss the good stuff. A lot. I don't miss the bad stuff. At all.)

This new opportunity just invigorates me. I couldn't love it more. The students actually want to be there, and they learn so quickly. Best of all, they appreciate their teacher and what they are learning. I love that.

Little do they know that I appreciate them even more. They are giving me gifts that they aren't even aware of. I am so grateful.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I was 3 when I got them-
A gift from my uncle.
The whole set, wow....
Unheard of generosity.
I remember playing with them for hours.

You in the background...
Telling him he shouldn't have
Really, he shouldn't have...
I wasn't worth it.

Later I got others-
After saving my allowance
Fifty cents at a time.
Tutti, Buffy, Suntan Barbie and Ken.
Time alone to play and dream. Blessed quiet.

You took them one day
And bent their legs sideways
Breaking the tiny wires.
"Here's what rickets look like.
You'll get that too if you don't eat right."

And still for some reason I have saved them.
All the dresses, the shoes, the mini toaster and toasts.
The pieces of imagination and creative escape.
Bent legs, messed up hair,
Ears green from sticking straight pins into the lobes.

Why can't I let them go?
There is pain when I see them.
Pain from You-
Ouch. I still feel it....ouch, ouch, ouch.

But there is a little girl with blonde short hair
Who sat on a front porch
Using toothpaste caps for Barbie cups.
Wondering what life could be.

Where is she?
Will she be all right
If I put these in a box
And let the truck take them away tomorrow??

Copyright 2010 Mary Skeen-all rights reserved

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Big Kitty

About 4 years ago on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I looked outside and saw a big, gorgeous Maine Coon cat had knocked down my trash cans and had pulled out the turkey carcass for his dinner. I went outside to see if he was friendly and if I could help him. He ran from me. I put food and water out and he came back to eat. He was ravenous. Poor guy. We called him Big Kitty because of his size.

I saw him sporadically for the next few weeks, and tried to lure him near so that I could take him to a vet or to a shelter for help. He had obviously been outside for awhile and would not get anywhere near me. I called 7 different cat organizations in Baltimore to see what to do, and to get help for this gorgeous,homeless guy. Because he was on the scraggly side, perhaps with some skin issues, and was not what they deemed as "friendly" or "adoptable", they told me there was nothing they could/would do to help me. I even went so far as to tell them I would keep him, but no...The best offer I got was the lend of a trap to catch him myself. I was told I would need to bait the trap a certain way, and that I would need long leather gloves to handle it once he was caught in the trap. (Um...have you ever heard a feral cat who is screaming in a trap? I have. It is one of the worst sounds imaginable.) I told them about the raccoons and foxes in our neighborhood, and how I did not want to trap one of those instead. Again, no help. Oh, and I was told that Big Kitty could be injured by the door slamming down on the trap. His tail could be amputated by it, or his back or other body parts could be hurt. I was told that all vet expenses would be mine, and if I trapped a wild animal-again my problem. In help.

Because I feared trapping a wild animal in the trap, I chose the path of interacting with him on the rare occasions that I saw him, once getting to actually pet his head. In my dreams I had hoped to one day reach down and just pick him up and take him somewhere for help. No dice. He lashed out at me a couple times, scratching and trying to bite, and that scared me enough not to want to get too close.

To this day, I look out for him. I feed him if I see him and he is hungry. I keep trying to get help for him. I have asked help from 12 different organizations-some of which I have given money to for years; one I have volunteered for. No help. Even more requests to the county and to people who work with ferals--no help. I feel awful for him.

This month two blizzards dumped about 45" of snow on us. I haven't seen Big Kitty for weeks. I wonder where he is and whether he is alive. He has been gone for months at a time before this, and has returned-nearly starving, but alive. I have set up shelter for him in our garage and on our side porch. He has chosen not to use it. This guy has his pride.

I wonder what kind of pig person had him for a kitten and just let him loose to fend for himself? I think I know who it is, but have no evidence, so once again can do nothing. I pray that one day I will be able to help him more than I have been able to. It saddens me that his life has been so hard. He is just a few steps away from help, warmth, and loving arms, but he will not step close enough.

May God bless you, Big Kitty. May God help me to help you. May He open up their hearts and hands to offer service to one of His own who needs it so very badly.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

May God Bless You The Rest of the Way

I was just at the grocery store where I saw the most adorable baby boy. He was all wrapped up in his tiny blue snow suit, with a blue striped knitted hat. He was sound asleep in the cart-not a care in the world. I asked his dad how old he was. He told me that he was just 6 weeks old. I told him that the baby was beautiful, that I could hardly remember when my boys were that small, that now they were 20 and almost 17. I looked at him and said, "It goes by way too fast. Enjoy him." He looked at me and my youngest son and then said the nicest thing to me. He said, "It's been nice talking to you. May God bless you the rest of the way." I almost cried.

Monday, January 11, 2010

11 Days In...

Well, I am 11 days into the new year, and so far, I have met my new year's resolution goals. I have walked in and out of LYSes and have not bought anything. I have felt and admired, and I have walked away, thinking about all of the yarns that I have at home that are languishing. I have 3 pairs of socks on the needles and will finish those before starting more. Deep breath. One day at a time. The money saved will help to build a nest egg for Dan's college tuition.

The New Year has brought some answers about my health issues, thank goodness. I feel lucky to have such good health care. Hopefully, with a few medicine changes, and a lot of time, things will change for the better. Fingers crossed.

I have begun teaching beginning knitting classes, and I am enjoying it. The students are reminding me why I always loved teaching. There is nothing quite like the feeling of sending someone off with new skills that will enrich and enhance their lives. Another papers to grade! (Former English teacher remembering the hours of grading every night...)

I hope to continue to look at the positive and avoid the negative, and that includes the negative people in my life. They sap the life right out of me.

Just found out that my man, JT, is playing at Verizon Center in June. Tickets, perhaps?? I'll know in a few days. Hopefully, they will not be sold out in the first 5 minutes like the last time. I haven't seen him live for a few years now, and I definitely miss that. This sounds like a good one...the Troubador Concert with Carole King. Wow, that takes me back.

Here's to feeling better!